Home > Glossary

The Bicycle Repair Glossary, C


Cable | Cable carrier | Cable guide | Cable stop | Cage | Caliper | Campagnolo | Cantilever brake | Capacity | Cap screw | Carbon fiber | Cartridge Bearings | Cassette | Center-pull Brake | Center-to-Center | Ceramic | Chain | Chain Case | Chainguard | Chain Line | Chainring | Chain Deflector | Chain stays | Chain suck | Chain Tensioner | Chain tool | Chain Watcher | Chainwheel | Chain Whip | Chamois | Changer | Chrome, Chromium | Chrome-Moly | Clearance | Cleat | Clincher Tire | Clipless Pedals | Cluster | C.N.C. | Coaster Brake | Cog | Cold Set | Comfort Bicycle | Command Shifter | Compact Crank | Compact Drive | Compact Frame | Composite | Compressionless (housing) | Cone | Cone Wrench | Cottered Cranks | Cotterless Cranks | C.P.S.C. | Crank | Crank Puller, Extractor | Crankset | Crescent Wrench | Cross Bicycle | Crossover Drive | Crown | Cruiser | Cup-and-Cone Bearing | Cyclecomputer | Cyclocross


Cable - Cables are used to control the brakes and derailleurs on most modern bicycles. (One exception would be hydraulic disc brakes.) The actual cable in these sysems is the inner wire, and it runs through cable housings.

Cable carrier - On a cantilever brake, the part that connects the main cable to the transverse cable. Also called a "yoke."

Cable guide - Typically a grooved piece of plastic, this directs a piece of cable along the bicycle frame. Commonly found beneath the bottom bracket shell.

Cable stop - Pieces on a bicycle frame where cable housing physically "stops." Integral to the proper functioning of the braking and shifting systems.

Cage - The part of a derailleur through which the chain runs. Could also refer to a water bottle cage.

Caliper - In your toolbox, a caliper is a measuring device with two ends that come together to measure the dimensions of a part.

More commonly this refers to a brake. A caliper brake is any brake that uses a single assembly to move both brake shoes together.

Campagnolo - An Italian bicycle component manufacturer. Competes with Shimano and SRAM.

Cantilever brake - A brake with two separate arms connected by a transverse cable (also called a straddle cable.)

Capacity - Referring to a derailleur. The largest range of cog sizes it can handle.

Cap screw - A type of threaded fastener. The top of the screw is like a cap in that it sits above the surface.

Carbon fiber - Carbon filaments bonded together with a resin; formed into tubes, frames, and/or components.

Cartridge Bearings - Bearings assembled into one modular unit.

Cassette - A cluster of cogs and spacers designed to fit on a freehub.

Center-pull Brake - A caliper brake in which the main cable runs down the centerline of the bicycle and uses a cable carrier (or "yoke") to connect to a transverse cable.

Center-to-Center - The typical way to measure distances between round openings.

Ceramic - A material used for some bearings. Also used as a coating on certain rims in order to improve braking.

Chain - The chain runs around the front chainrings and rear cogs to move the bike forwards. The vast majority of bicycles are chain driven. (A couple use a belt drive.)

Chain Case - A chainguard that completely encases the chain.

Chainguard - A piece of plastic or metal that covers the top of the chain, mainly to keep pants from touching the chain and getting covered in grease.

Chain Line - How straight the chain runs between the front chainrings and rear cogs.

Chainring - The front sprocket that attaches to the crank arm.

Chain Deflector - Object that prevents the chain from falling off the small chainring onto the bottom bracket shell.

Chain stays - The frame tubes that run from the bottom bracket shell to the rear dropouts.

Chain suck - When the chain gets carried up the backside of a chainring until it wedges itself between the chainrings and right chainstay.

Chain Tensioner - A device used to adjust the chain tension when a bike with vertical dropouts is converted to a single-speed.

BMX bikes use a different style chain tensioner that fits to the axle at each dropout.

Chain tool - A tool used to press rivets into or out of a link of chain, allowing you to lengthen or shorten, or remove or install the chain.

Chain Watcher - Another name for chain deflector.

Chainwheel - Another name for chainring.

Chain Whip - A metal bar with a short length of bicycle chain attached to it, somewhat resembling a whip. Used to hold onto cogs.

Chamois - A soft piece of leather used for polishing bicycle frames (and cars.)

Changer - Another term for derailleur. More common in Britain.

Chrome, Chromium - A metal used in some steel alloys. Also used as a plating to make parts shiny.

Chrome-Moly - A metal alloy consisting of steel combined with small amounts of chromium and molybdenum. Also see, 4130.

Clearance - Distance or gap between two parts, such as a tire and the frame.

Cleat - A plastic or metal fitting attached to the bottom of a cycling shoe to engage into a compatible pedal.

Clincher Tire - The popular bicycle tire design consisting of a tire and a separate inner tube.

Clipless Pedals - Pedals that use cleats, rather than clips and straps.

Cluster - A group of cogs on a cassette.

C.N.C. - Stands for Computerized Numerical Control. Refers to machine tools that can carve complex parts from solid billet metal.

Coaster Brake - A type of rear hub which incorporates a brake which is operated by pedaling backward.

Cog - a single rear sprocket.

Cold Set - Bending a metal part without first heating it. Used on steel frames.

Comfort Bicycle - A bike with an upright seating position, wide saddle, and other comfort features.

Command Shifter - A shifter that mounts on drop handlebars and looks kind of like a large wingnut. Made by SunTour.

Compact Crank - A double chainring crankset which permits the use of smaller chainrings than you could fit on the common 130mm BCD cranksets. Typically a compact uses a 34-50 chainring setup.

Compact Drive - Mountain bike triple chainring setups using smaller than normal chainrings - typically 22/32/44. Popular specifications are 94 mm/58 mm BCD 5 bolt, or 104 mm/64 mm 4 bolt.

Compact Frame - Road frames with sloping top tubes (opposed to the old standard of a level top tube.)

Composite - A material made up of different materials joined together. The term is usually used when referring to carbon fiber frames and parts.

Compressionless (housing) - Cable housing made of parallel strands of wire, rather than a coiled strand of wire as used in traditional housing. Used for shifter cables.

Cone - A cone-shaped bearing race.

Cone Wrench - A special thin wrench required to adjust the bearing cones on a hub.

Cottered Cranks - Old-fashioned cranks that used cotters (wedge-shaped pins threaded on one end to accept a nut) to hook to the bottom bracket spindle.

Cotterless Cranks - A more modern style of three-piece cranks.

C.P.S.C. - The Consumer Product Safety Commission. A government agency that attempts to ensure safe products.

Crank - The arm which connects the pedal to the bottom bracket axle. Usually called a "crank arm."

Crank Puller, Extractor - A tool for removing cotterless cranks. It "pulls" the crank arm off the bottom bracket spindle.

Crankset - Refers to the combination of the crank arms, chainrings, and stack bolts holding them together.

Crescent Wrench - This is the brand name for an adjustable wrench.

Cross Bicycle - A sturdy road bike with some off-road features (knobby tires and cantilever brakes) used for cyclocross racing.

Crossover Drive - The two-chain drive system used on tandem bicycles.

Crown - The upper part of the front fork, where the blades and steerer tube join together.

Cruiser - A comfort bike with large tires, designed for easy crusing on flat roads.

Cup-and-Cone Bearing - Cup and cone-shaped races, and the accompanying bearings.

Cyclecomputer, Cyclocomputer - A small, handlebar-mounted computer that tracks speed and distance on your bicycle.

Cyclocross - A type of off-road racing consisting of 30-60 minutes of short laps over varied terrain, including sand pits, mud, snow, and steep hills you must run up on foot.


Home > Glossary